Making a Five-Year Plan

Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales, Assistant Professor in the School of Education, shares details about creating a five-year plan.

winning tenure
“Winning Tenure” lays out a helpful approach towards the pre-tenure years of faculty life.

Earlier this semester, School of Management Associate Professor Michelle Millar and I facilitated a workshop sponsored by CRASE titled “Making a Five-Year Plan: A Workshop for Faculty.” Attended largely by early-career faculty from across campus, the session was intended to demystify the tenure process by breaking the benchmarks towards tenure and promotion down into a series of concrete, specific goals that can be mapped on to a five-year calendar. Our approach is influenced by the work of Kerry Ann Rockquemore and Tracey Laszloffy in their book The Black Academic’s Guide to Winning Tenure – Without Losing Your Soul. The book, written for Black faculty specifically and faculty members from underrepresented communities in general, lays out a helpful approach towards the pre-tenure years of faculty life, including the critical importance of developing a five-year plan, for anyone going through the tenure and promotion (T&P) process.

We began by clarifying that, though often talked about as a seven-year process, promotion from assistant to associate professor is actually five years. The seventh year is the sabbatical year, and the sixth year is when one submits the T&P file, which means that work for the T&P file must to be accomplished by the end of the fifth year. Though every faculty member’s tenure file will be judged by a university-wide committee, the expectations of what makes a strong tenure case vary by discipline, field, and school, and therefore the first step before developing one’s five-year plan is to clarify what those expectations are with mentors and senior faculty.

There are several reasons a five-year plan is important, including the tension between tenure being a benchmark that must be achieved on a fixed timeframe and the fact that it is measured with a nebulous set of benchmarks; the reality of the nature of academia and that it is entirely possible to work a 16-hour day attending only to the immediate tasks at hand and never getting to the bigger projects like writing and thinking; and, how the “never enough” culture in academia is not only a recipe for burnout but can also negatively impact productivity. A five-year plan can help mitigate those challenges and even build in time for rest and recuperation.

Below are the four steps we see as the keys to developing a solid five-year plan:

Step One: Articulate SMART goals in each of the following areas: research, teaching, and service.
The first step is to develop goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, & Timely (SMART). So, rather than just writing furiously, you are clear about the specific goals you need to meet over the course of the five years. For example, a goal related to research might be to publish an empirical piece in a top journal in your field based on data you have already collected.

Step Two: Develop a list of tasks to accomplish each goal.
Next, break down each goal into a series of concrete tasks that will help you accomplish the goal—the more specific the better. The publication goal listed above could be broken down into the following tasks: analyze data; develop the article; argument and outline; write a draft of the article; revise article after getting feedback from a colleague; and submit the article.

Step Three: Use the technique of “backward calendering” to time-map each goal and it’s corresponding tasks.
Nothing helps you be realistic about what you can accomplish and how long it will take than pulling out a calendar and mapping it out. Start with the due date and work backwards, mapping out each task on a specific day. If you aim to submit your article on August 15, you’ll need to get feedback from your colleague by August 1, which means you’ll need to get it to her by July 1. To get it to her by July 1, you’ll need a full draft by June 15, develop your argument and outline by May 15, and have your data analyzed by April 15. If you anticipate the data analysis will take you two months, you’ll need to start data analysis by February 15.

Step Four: Map out each year and adjust as necessary.
Though it can feel overwhelming, it is important to backward-calendar each goal. This will help you think through what is really possible, how to stagger different projects, and how to build in the time necessary for each task. It also helps you look at each semester one-at-a-time, and shuffle things around as needed so that you can ensure that you are evenly distributing the work and taking into account how other responsibilities (a heavy fall teaching load) or opportunities (summer off) will increase or decrease your work in a given period.

Lastly, keep in mind that your plan is fluid. It can be adjusted as needed – tasks can be removed or added, and goals can change. That’s okay. However, a five-year plan is worthless if you develop it in a workshop and never look at it again! A five-year plan is lived through semester-long plans, which we recommend drafting at the start of each term. Developing a “Sunday Meeting” is also a helpful tool; whether this is with an accountability group you set up (see the Rockquemore and Laszloffy book for more details on this!) or by yourself. Setting aside time each Sunday to revisit your semester plan, and figure out what you need to do that week in order to stay on track, helps bring your five-year-plan into your everyday life.

Faculty Spotlight: Sadia Saeed

Sadia Saeed is a historical sociologist who researches global inequalities. During our conversation, we discussed how growing up in Pakistan shaped her and how she brings her research into the classroom.  Her book Politics of Desecularization: Law and the Minority Question in Pakistan is now available.

Sadia Saeed

Thinking about your start, when did you become interested in global inequality?

I hail from Pakistan, which is where I first studied sociology and history as an undergrad. Many of these courses were quite explicitly organized around questions of global inequalities, and these questions have stayed with me since. Oftentimes when we talk about issues around nationalism or rights, it’s not put in the context of global inequalities. I think this is a serious omission because a lot of what is going on in the world today in supposedly domestic contexts can be explained, or at least further clarified, by taking the global dimension into account.

How does your research in sociology look at aspects of global inequality?

In my first book, I examined how inequalities are produced in a local national context by looking at the issue of religious minorities and their rights in Pakistan. As I concluded that project, I became interested in how domestic inequalities are justified, or at least tolerated, within systems of international law, how rights are articulated in international law, and how global inequalities shape how different people think about international law. Basically, I’m now trying to connect what happens domestically to global structures and vice versa.

What was the moment that first sparked your interest in really understanding global inequality?

When you come from the so-called developing world and study social sciences, you can never really escape the profound gaps that exist between the West and the rest of the world. Also, growing up in a place like Pakistan, you just know that there are global inequalities and that these are not natural, and it was household talk that IMF and World Bank and other such global institutions are run by Western countries. I remember many conversations around how the IMF was imposing things on Pakistan —collecting more taxes, cutting state expenditures—and the American military involvements in the region and their continuing effects also clearly pointed to other kinds of global inequalities.

What brought you to the United States to complete your Ph.D.?

America has some of the best universities in the world and some of the most dynamic researchers and scholars. It’s so diverse, and you can learn more here because there are better resources and better training.

What is your research process like when you’re exploring these topics?

For my first book, which just came out, my research process was very field-based. I spent a lot of time in Pakistan. It was very organic. I was interested in why and how the Pakistani state instituted laws which favor the dominant religious group of Sunni Muslims over others and why the states discriminates against particular minorities. How and why does the state make these decisions, especially when they run counter to values of equality that the state also claims to uphold?

I looked at newspapers to figure out the events that were happening at the time when people were making these decisions. I went and spoke to a lot of activists, government officials, and people who were part of the deliberations in making these policies. That was really eye opening because you understand the constraints with which state officials work.

Pakistan often makes policies against religious minorities because that is what the majority wants, or at least that is the justification the state gives. Oftentimes, proponents of discriminatory laws say that such laws are actually democratic because they are what the majority desires— they say that the will of the majority should be heard.

We tend to think that discrimination in places like Pakistan against religious minorities is a different beast than what you might see here in the United States, with respect to race, for example. But in Pakistan, as with everywhere else, there are also activists such as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and a lot of dedicated lawyers and judges who push back against these policies. People write against policies in venues they think are safe. They talk against these laws when they think it is safe.

I could not have learned a lot of what I subsequently wrote about without doing a lot of research. In my book, I focused on both the people who made discriminatory laws and the people who pushed back, the constraints that both sides faced, and the constraints continued to be faced by activists and people trying to change these laws.

Tell us about your new project.

My second project is in the initial stages and looks at how minority rights are instituted in international organizations, particularly in the United Nations and the United Nations predecessor, which was the League of Nations. I’m looking at international laws surrounding minority rights—which countries and which groups of people or individuals have pushed for specific declarations, conventions, etc. I’m also interested in questions of resistance to international law, especially forms of resistance that are premised on arguments about global inequalities. I am also interested in looking at international laws against racial discrimination, those advocating for indigenous rights, and also the convention against genocide.

This is a tentative thought, but it also seems to me that not all minorities are treated equally when it comes to matters of international law. Some minorities figure more when it comes to drafting international laws and others are marginalized in the discourses surrounding minority rights. Some marginalized groups are invisible and others become very visible. Some genocides become internationally recognized whereas other genocides do not. Not all minorities and not all groups’ narratives and plights are equally important in international law, and this goes back to questions of domestic and global inequalities. Who makes these laws? Who are they supposed to protect? Which minorities get left out? What is the politics behind it all?

How does your research inform your teaching?

When I teach, I try to convey to students critical approaches to questions of global and domestic inequalities. I try to get students to understand the social issues that people in the rest of the world, that is, outside U.S. face. There is an idea that something happening in Pakistan can’t possibly help us think about what is happening here in the United States. It’s hard in this globalized world, but a world that also creates highly segmented and stratified communities, to really understand how things are connected. I try to bring in everything I work on and what’s dear to me in my research and translate that into my teaching. Students everywhere long to learn new things and they want to question and to be pushed, but often it means that you have to do it in creative ways. For me, this creative way is through literally thinking outside the box, that is, thinking beyond the U.S.

Are there specific moments when you see your students come to an understanding?

The first semester here I taught a course called Islam, Politics and Society, and when we began, people had very different perceptions of the relationship between Islam and politics. Some people were suspicious of religion and politics. Some people were more sympathetic to the idea that different cultures do things differently.

Over the course of this amazing semester, everybody still had different opinions but everyone was able to talk to each other and discuss the pros and cons of one position and the pros and cons of another position. I think everyone left the class knowing a little bit more about the issues that are at stake. I could see the students learning because I could see them talking to each other and really engage with other ways of thinking. This was just a fantastic course for me.

What brought you to USF?

The University of San Francisco was one of the really exciting places for me to interview at because the job ad was for global inequality, which is precisely what I work on. Also, USF has such a wonderful mission of social justice, and my work fits in really well with this university. And I loved my campus visit. I am still quite new here. This is my first year here.

How the Orlando Shooting and Presidential Election Changed the LGBTQ+ Community

Lou Felipe discusses the preliminary results of research conducted with Ja’nina Garrett-Walker and Michelle Montagno through the CRASE Interdisciplinary Action Group Grant Award.

SF Pride 2015
Image credit: SF Pride 2015 by Thomas Hawk. This work is licensed under a CC BY 2.0 license.

The shooting that took place at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, on a night that knowingly attracted a Latinx community, pushed to the forefront the intersectionality of discrimination. Notably, the tragedy highlighted how queer people of color are uniquely positioned to be at the receiving end of hateful violence due to the enduring legacies of racism and homophobia. Many in the queer community wondered about our community’s investment in racial equity. As queer people working towards racial equity, Ja’nina Garrett-Walker, Michelle Montagno, and I were not only personally heartbroken by the tragic deaths of those celebrating at Pulse that evening, but we felt compelled to leverage our own resources and privileges to better understand the experiences of people of color in the LGBTQ+ community.

We were awarded the Center for Research Artistic and Scholarly Excellence (CRASE) Interdisciplinary Action Group grant to investigate LGBTQ+ individuals’ racial identity and connectedness to the community. Though we are still in the data collection process, preliminary results reveal the different experiences between People of Color (POC) and White people in the LGBTQ+ community. While differences in mental health did not emerge, POC generally reported feeling less connected to the LGBTQ+ community than their White counterparts (Garrett-Walker, Felipe, & Montagno, 2017). POC also reported greater discord between their sexual and racial identities than White-identified participants. These trends of the data perhaps suggest that lived experiences of communities of color are not well reflected in dominant queer culture. What we see in the data may be the reflection of what many of us who are queer and of color have experienced all along: that the legacies of white supremacy have permeated the LGBTQ+ community, whitening the queer experience in much the same way that the feminist movement centered White voices, pushing Women of Color to demand intersectional feminism.

However, the Orlando tragedy was not the only major event impacting the participants of the study, all of whom identify as queer or claim a space somewhere along the LGBTQ+ continuum. Shortly following the launch of our study, the presidential elections took place, and we were faced with an interesting significant event that created unique response sets: we had a number of participants who responded before the election, as well as a portion of the sample who participated after the election. In examining depression scores, those who responded just prior to the election had scores that were substantially lower than those scores recorded after the election (Garrett-Walker, et al. 2017). In short, LGBTQ+ people endorsed more symptoms of depression after Trump was elected into office.

The presidential election signified a serious threat to the civil rights of the entire LGBTQ+ community, and it arrived on the heels of a massive attack that left 51 people dead. The socio-political environment created an additional stress on the psyches of the queer people in the study, and this indication of increased depression emerged regardless of how the participant identified racially. While these findings are almost sadly obvious, there is another unique finding to consider at this crossroads of identity: the post-election respondents indicated feeling more negatively towards their own racial group, regardless of their racial identity (Garrett-Walker, et al. 2017).

Orlando and the election changed all of us in the community. The accumulation of attacks draws us into a space far too familiar – that of self-loathing. Unless we, as a larger America, take up each other’s causes with the same fervor for which we stand up for our own, we are headed down a terrifyingly divisive path, where we will not only hate one another, but will end up internally empty in the process. And though the mistakes of the past seem to be revived in modern times, the successes of the past have also paved our path for survival and resistance. We just have to listen to those stories and value our own.

A Time to Break Silence: Resisting Islamophobia in the Trump Era

Tuesday, April 4 11:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
University of San Francisco Fromm Hall – Maraschi Room

The rise of Islamophobia, anti-Muslim discrimination, and related hate crimes is a crisis none of us can ignore. But how can we engage in resistance within this climate of fear and uncertainty? Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to join us for a daylong symposium aimed at educating and equipping all of us with effective tools for civic engagement. The event ​is inspired by ​the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”. ​The interactive workshops​ ​explicitly connect ​the rise of Islamophobia with the increase in other forms of hate and discrimination against marginalized communities. Keynote address by USF Inaugural Diversity Scholar Visiting Professor Clarence Jones and San Francisco physician Suzanne Barakat will vividly illustrate the tragic consequences of silence and the necessity of coalition-building to various forms of resistance.

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11:45-12:45 Welcome
Opening remarks by University of San Francisco President Fr. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J.
Keynote address by Dr. Clarence Jones, inaugural Diversity Scholar Visiting Professor
Followed by Lunch

12:45-2:30 Workshop No Ban! No Wall! Resistance to the Criminalization of Immigrant, Refugee, and Undocumented Communities
Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales, Assistant Professor, Leadership Studies
Cinthya Munoz-Ramos, immigrant rights advocate and Legislative Director for Supervisor Richard Valle in Alameda County
Elica Vafaie, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Guadalupe Vela Orozco, senior at June Jordan School for Equity, Director of the 4U club
María Zaragoza, senior at June Jordan School for Equity, co-authored the Undocumented, Unafraid, and United Students Resolution presented to SFUSF School Board.
Miriam Uribe, senior at USF, undocumented activist involved in various initiatives at USF

We need to draw the connections between marginalized communities in this moment. In this workshop, Bay Area activist leaders share resistance work that is happening on the issues of undocumented students and families and against Trump’s Muslim Ban. This work serves as an inspiration for what each of us can do as campus leaders, students, and San Francisco Bay Area community members.

2:40-4:25 Panel and Workshop: Counteracting Anti-Muslim Discrimination in Connection with Other Targeted Communities
Aaron Hahn Tapper, Mae and Benjamin Swig Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, Theology & Religious Studies
James Taylor, Professor, Politics
Aysha Hidayatullah, Associate Professor, Theology & Religious Studies
Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates, Head of Program to Counter Anti-Muslim Hate
Lara Kiswani, Executive Director, Arab Resource & Organizing Center

The alarming resurgence of hate crimes and other forms of discrimination aimed against many communities threatens the fabric of our country. Join us for a critical interactive discussion and workshop on counteracting hate through our voices and actions. Brief faculty remarks will be followed by conversations with legal advocates and grass-roots organizers.

4:30-5:30 “The Deadly Threat of Islamophobia & How We Can Stand Together Against Hatred”
Keynote Address on Islamophobia by Dr. Suzanne Barakat, Chair of Our Three Winners Foundation and UCSF Family Medicine Resident

5:30-7 Artist Performances and Closing
Comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh, Spoken Word Artist Mohammed Bilal, Diana Kalaji, and the Lyricist Lounge

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This event is sponsored by CRASE, the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, Office of Diversity Engagement & Community Outreach, University Ministry, Muslim Student Association, Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought, Task Force for Support and Services for Undocumented Students at USF, Communication Studies, Critical Diversity Studies, History, International Studies, Media Studies, Middle East Studies, Performing Arts and Social Justice, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, and Theology and Religious Studies.